Many were predicting that Lena Headey (“Game of Thrones”) would win the Emmy for Best Drama Supporting Actress in 2015 after her character, Cersei Lannister, was shamed in front of the King’s Landing rabble, but that award went instead to Uzo Aduba (“Orange is the New Black”). However, Aduba was left out of the category this year, so does that mean Headey will prevail? Yes, according to the predictions of the Expert TV journalists we’ve polled.
Fourteen out of 18 experts are predicting Headey, giving her leading 2/5 odds: Robert Bianco (USA Today), Debra Birnbaum (Variety), Eric Deggans (NPR), Lynn Elber (Associated Press), Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post), Kerr Lordygan (Rotten Tomatoes), Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Lynette Rice (Entertainment Weekly), Robert Rorke (New York Post), Matt Roush (TV Guide Magazine), Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby), Ken Tucker (Yahoo), Adnan Virk (ESPN) and Jarett Wieselman (Buzzfeed).
This is Headey’s third nomination in a row, and she’s hoping to pick up her first win with her episode submission, “The Winds of Winter,” in which she burns her enemies alive, mourns the death of yet another child, and takes the crown as the new queen of Westeros.
Maggie Smith (“Downton Abbey”) is next with 5/1 odds based on support from three experts: Joyce Eng (TV Guide), Pete Hammond (Deadline Hollywood) and Anne Thompson (Indiewire). Smith is already a three-time Emmy-winner, and two of those were for this role as Violet Crawley, the Countess of Grantham: Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actress in 2011 and Best Drama Supporting Actress in 2012. She has now been nominated five times for “Downton” and nine times overall. She submitted to Emmy judges “Episode 6,” in which Violet is furious over being replaced by her daughter-in-law Cora as hospital president.
Ranked third with 14/1 odds is Maisie Williams (“Game of Thrones”), who is backed by just one expert, Michael Ausiello (TV Line). This is the first nomination for Williams, who plays Arya Stark, and in her episode submission, “No One,” she fights off an assassin and reclaims her identity.
None of our experts are predicting the remaining three nominees. Ranked fourth with 50/1 odds is a third “Game of Thrones” star, Emilia Clark as Daenerys Targaryen, who continues her long campaign to become the queen of Westeros. In her episode, “Book of the Stranger,” she is a prisoner of the Dothraki until she burns their leaders and takes command of their people.
Maura Tierney (“The Affair”) ranks fifth with 66/1 odds. This is her first nomination for this series but her second overall. She plays Helen Solloway and submitted “Episode 204,” in which Helen is overwhelmed by her divorce proceedings and ends up causing a car accident while drunk and high.
Also with 66/1 odds is first-time Emmy-nominee Constance Zimmer (“UnReal”), who plays reality TV producer Quinn King. She submitted the episode “Mother,” in which her longtime affair with her married colleague suddenly lands him in the hospital.
Gold Derby’s Editors, who cover awards year-round, have a slightly different perspective on this category. We’re evenly split with three of us predicting Headey (Sheehan, O’Neil and Chris Beachum) and another three backing Smith (Marcus James Dixon, Rob Licuria and myself), while Matt Noble goes out on a limb for Clarke.
Headey is also ahead according to our Top 24 Users, who got the highest scores predicting last year’s winners. Fifteen of those top users are predicting Headey, followed by Smith with six, Tierney with two and Clarke with one.
Headey is even farther ahead according to our All-Star Top 24, who got the highest scores when you combine their Emmy predictions from 2014 and 2015. Sixteen all-stars are forecasting her victory, while only four say Smith and one apiece say Tierney and Zimmer.
Be sure to make your Emmy predictions right here. You’ll compete to win our contest prizes for best picks — $500 (first place), $300 (second place) and $200 (third place) in Amazon gift certificates — a place of honor on our leaderboard and a starring role in next year’s Top 24 Users (the two dozen folks who do the best predicting this year’s Emmys). Be sure to read our contest rules.